Leeds manager was behind Derby training ground snooping.

FA to investigate after Bielsa admits responsibility for spying incident

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  • 2019-01-12 05:05:11 11 months ago
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The Football Association is investigating after Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa admitted “full responsibility” for the spying incident at Derby’s training ground.

The Rams’ trip to Elland Road to face the Sky Bet Championship leaders on Friday night was overshadowed after a man was caught outside Derby’s training ground on Thursday.

Derbyshire Police were forced to intervene and it was alleged that the man was an employee of Leeds who was spying on their opponents’ preparations.

After speaking to Bielsa over the phone, and the Argentinian admitting it in an interview prior to the game, Rams boss Frank Lampard suggested his club would not be making a complaint and would leave the matter in the hands of the authorities.

👉 https://t.co/Lz23UJnzQJ pic.twitter.com/lADjJeQaD7

Derby County (@dcfcofficial) January 11, 2019

Shortly after an FA spokesperson announced: ”We are aware of the incident at Derby County’s training ground and we will be investigating the matter.”

Asked by Sky Sports if he would be making a complaint, angry Lampard had said: “I don’t think we need to, because he’s admitted it so it’s easily dealt with.

“We had somebody the day before our first game against them which we lost 4-1. Now Leeds can beat you 4-1, they’re a fantastic team, but we had somebody in the bushes that day, twice this season now…”

Bielsa had earlier admitted it was something he had done previously but Lampard was not interested in discussing any potential cultural differences which might see such incidents become more frequent in this country.

🍿🍿🍿 pic.twitter.com/O55HJnsxYC

— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) January 11, 2019

The former England midfielder said: “I don’t care if it’s cultural. Because if it’s cultural and it happens in another country, if I’m lucky enough to do well and a possibility comes up later in my managerial career, when I travel to that country I will find out what the etiquette is – and I will abide by it.”

The EFL had earlier released a statement suggesting it was still awaiting an official complaint from Derby, but Bielsa’s pre-match comments could see its stance revisited after he admitted to sending someone to the Moor Farm complex.

The Leeds boss said: “It’s true there was someone from Leeds United, the responsibility of this is (down to) me, I am responsible.

“It doesn’t matter if this is legal, illegal, right or wrong. For me it’s enough that Frank Lampard and Derby County felt it was not the right thing to do. I didn’t behave well.

Marcelo Bielsa admitted he sent a Leeds employee to the Derby training ground
Marcelo Bielsa admitted he sent a Leeds employee to the Derby training ground (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Yesterday I talked to Frank Lampard and he told me I didn’t respect fair play. I have a different point of view on it but the important thing is what Frank and Derby think.

“I am responsible for it because I didn’t ask Leeds United for permission to do it. Without trying to find a justification, I have been using this kind of practice since qualification for the World Cup with Argentina. This is not illegal, we have been doing it publicly, we talk about it in the press – for some people it is the wrong thing, for others it’s not.”

An EFL spokesperson earlier said: “We are aware of the reports in relation to an incident at the training ground of Derby County.

“It is, of course, up to Derby County as to how they progress this matter but as of yet we have received no complaint or contact from the club.”

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FA to investigate after Bielsa admits responsibility for spying incident

Bielsa has damaged his and Leeds’ reputation with ‘disgusting’ actions – Andrews

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa has come in for heavy criticism after admitting he was the mastermind behind the spy row that has overshadowed his side’s fixture against Derby.

Ahead of their Sky Bet Championship clash on Friday night, the Rams claimed that a man who was escorted from the perimeter of their training ground on Thursday after “acting suspiciously” was, in fact, a Leeds employee.

Bielsa, who has guided Leeds to the top of the Championship, has taken responsibility for the act, leading former Republic of Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews to claim the Argentinian has damaged his reputation.

In his role as a pundit for Sky Sports, Andrews said: “It’s madness, initially there was a comical value to it, someone skulking around the training ground – but it’s disgusting really.

“It’s not how things are done here, it’s not illegal but he (Bielsa) absolutely has to change. Tactically he has had a lot of plaudits, people talking him up big-time, had lots of praise – but he’s got to take this on the chin.

“I don’t think he gives a damn, to be honest. He’s unflustered by it, taken the brunt of it for the football club but the way I look at it…it’s disgusting.

“I think this has damaged his reputation. He’s galvanised this club and transformed the way they played but now his reputation and that of the club has been severely tarnished.”

Former Derby striker Darren Bent accused Bielsa of “cheating” – although he questioned what Leeds stood to gain by the former Argentina and Chile boss’ actions.

He said on Sky Sports: “What more can he get that he’s not seen already this season? I’m not sure what he gets from a training session the day before they play.

“I don’t think he realises the flak he’s gonna take for this. We’re talking about someone cheating, that’s what he’s done, to try to get an edge.”

Joint Chester manager Anthony Johnson defended Bielsa’s conduct, though, writing on Twitter: “Fair play to Bielsa for taking full responsibility when he could have thrown someone else under the bus and played daft!

“Personally I love the way rugby do it by announcing teams up to 48hrs before a game – ‘There you go, there’s our team. Stop us if you can’.”

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Protest won’t force me to sell, insists Bolton chairman Ken Anderson

Bolton chairman Ken Anderson has warned supporters that any protests before their clash against West Brom later this month will not hasten his exit from the Trotters.

Anderson says he has become aware that some fan groups are planning demonstrations against his rule for their televised Sky Bet Championship fixture against the Baggies on January 21.

Initial plans centred on supporters walking out of the University of Bolton Stadium in the 58th minute – symbolic because of Wanderers’ FA Cup final victory over Manchester United in 1958.

Anderson defended his position and urged anyone planning to join the protests to reconsider.

Writing on the club’s website, he said: “I’ve noted that some fans groups have organised a protest for our game against West Brom on Monday 21 January.

“While I’m pleased that they have changed their minds not to walk out of the game on the 58th minute I also don’t feel it is a good idea for them to hold their protest march before the game kicks off.

“I don’t think that this benefits anyone and can only bring negative publicity to the club.

“It certainly won’t make me rush into selling the club if that’s the real intention of the march.

“I have always made my position absolutely clear insofar as that if and when a new investor came forward that I would be a willing seller if that would enable the club to have better financial resources and prospects going forward.

“I really do hope that those who are planning and taking part in the proposed march think again and that the game can go ahead without any distractions for the players.”

In the summer, Bolton players went on strike after they were not paid.

They avoided administration in September after former owner Eddie Davies gave the club a loan just days before he died.

On December 10, Anderson insisted there would be no mass exodus of players during the January transfer window to try to balance the club’s books.

It was reported this week that Bolton had been hit with separate winding up petitions by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and football agency Stellar Football Ltd, though the club on Wednesday denied they had been served.

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